Wednesday, August 31, 2022


Like the first time 
it weightlessly 
tugs on your mind 

that perhaps you've been 
hunched at one 
task for too long, 

the last day 
of August comes 
nosing around

to quicken the pulse 
of this shaggy, 
wistful midlife. 

Like a gentle, loving prod 
from a cool, 
wet muzzle 

it provokes 
a quick shiver—that first 
twinge of September, 

and a portent, 
without any basis 
in memory, 

that Death, 
in her glory, is certain 
to return here—

not as the heiress 
of this mild, 
mangy beauty,

but rather, once again, 
its hospitable 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


That blindspot 
on your retina; 

those pimples 
you deplore;

that stiffness in your hip 
which you stoically 
ignore—it's like: 

long ago, 
all at once, 

and for a 
limited time only, 

your life 
was a sweepstakes—a grand prize 
you were awarded.

After all the glamour 
and the wonderment 
of which, 

you realized,
to your horror, you'd be
totally stuck 

toiling, day 
after day after 

just for the means
to afford it.

Monday, August 29, 2022


By now, even if 
all you recorded 

was the tally 
of times 
you woke up in the morning 

and managed 
to heave your full
weight to the floor

without any 

or really
even questioning it—

you'd already 
have written 
a towering epic 

more impressive in scope 
and fidelity 
than Homer's, 

more fantastic
and lofty and bizarre
than Cervantes', 

and certainly 
several dozen, 

if not hundreds 
of pages longer 

than the number of days 
even Jesus
could afford.

Friday, August 26, 2022


Our days are infused 
with so much 
that's righteous

it'd ruin our ability 
to continue 
if we noticed. 

Doesn't matter 
who you've hurt

or how 
many times now—

morning birds will 
sing to you;

when you're driving 
through the night 
to escape from the truth, 

the impossible soup 
of atoms in the air 

will part 
to let you through 
and salute; 

and just when you think 
you are finally living 

on the last line 
of a prayer 
at the tail-end of time, 

tomorrow arrives 
without help, 
on a dime—

and there's nothing 
you can do.

Thursday, August 25, 2022


What if, 
in the beginning,
that first word 

which spoke itself
was deaf?

And the face 
that moved out across 
the surface of the ocean

was blind 
as a stone 

and couldn't feel 
the motion? 

After all, the trick 
with pure light 
is that it cannot 

be highlighted; 
it can ignite
or illuminate, 

but can never itself 
be lit. 

What if you live
in a universe 
like that—

where a thought 
(even the first
best thought 

which ever existed) 
could never 
be caught

and would have 
no idea, even if 

it could be, what 
it was 
on about?

Wednesday, August 24, 2022


it must be alright 

to stop 
the irritable reaching, and just 
enjoy the night; 

to soak a while in Epsom 
and put balm 
on all your blisters, 

then tan 
for far too long
in front of the television. 

A few scented candles 
be appropriate, 

and a little soft music 
to drown out the sound 

of all the innovations 
you dimly know 
you should be making, 

even as you feel 
the internal untying 

of thousands 
of taught, soaking strands 
of gray rope.

You think: 
who am I to reach 

for more 
than I can hold? 
God knows—

even Bach, 
despite all his 
brilliant leaping, 

sooner or later 
would always 
fall back

on the same old
dozen notes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


In some ways, it isn't 
a very big thing; 

it's more like 
the faceted tip 
of a jewel—

that minuscule, 
razor sharp 
vanishing point 

where Kinship 
meets up with 

and annihilates 
the Individual.

It's a definite, 
and a desperate, 

and a weaponized 
kind of knowing—

like the way 
each blade of rain 

knows the river 
where it came from—

or a pair of stainless 
scissors knows 

the susceptiveness 
of paper—

or a small
desperate mammal,

who has built 
its mock nest 

under the hood 
of your Ford 
in the winter,

instinctively knows 
that it needs 
much more help

than it possibly knows 
how to ask for. 

Monday, August 22, 2022


How simple 
are the mandates
obeyed by ocean waves? 

And yet, how high 
are the barricades 
all of us face 

as we try in our vain way 
to over-complicate 
their movements? 

The manic morning 
undulations and great sighs 
of afternoon; 

the silent senescence, 
by the moonlight 

and the overnight redoubling 
of our decision 
not to bend. 

So this, then, will be left 
as our crest 
and our pinnacle: 

our refusal to flow 
or relinquish 
our own edges, 

to register the absence 
and tremendous largess 
of all of the others 

who have broken 
on that silent shore, 
inexorably, before us 

with our unfathomably 
vast unwillingness 
to depend. 


Friday, August 19, 2022


You'd think 
it'd take 
an acid trip, 

or a beatific vision 
on day six 
of a fast, 

but more often, 
you're doing dishes, 
or stuck in traffic 

when you notice: 
a soul 
must exist

in the smallest 
of objects.

may swim 
with the cyanide 
in an apple seed; 

could be stuck
in a hydrogen atom 

like Daedalus 
condemned to roam lost
in his labyrinth.

The proof 
is in how you 
can't ever truly 

map all the ins
to the outs 
of anything—

not without 
pinning and 
killing it, that is. 

Therefore (it practically 
behooves you 
to conclude)

nothing that's living
is ever finished 


Thursday, August 18, 2022


acrid proof

that the last 
man standing 

is not the most 
genuine, but 

the one 
who spouts a plan 

comes oozing 
(with coaxing) 

like the pale,
sour juice 

from the pulpy insides
of a lopsided lemon: 

the difference 
between it 

and a cool glass 
of lemonade 

is roughly equivalent 
to the difference between 

the very 
best idea 

and the best idea 

who's trapped 
in that moment 

is likely 
to have.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Right about now 
might be a good time 
to practice

picturing some truly
ponderous objects—

red giant 
stars and their requisite 
planets, for instance; 

or maybe the jagged 
enormity of Everest 

and majestic jade sprawl 
of a distant 
Mount St. Helens; 

or perhaps, the deluxe
Frigidaire side-
by-side refrigerator 

humming reliably 
away in the corner 

of your shoebox
apartment on the 
29th floor—because 

without a little effort  
and advance preparation, 

when it counts most, 
it may prove too 
difficult to imagine 

that, in order for everything 
to exist as it is, 
all of it 

first must get 
into place.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022


After all that
hard work 
keeping straight 

on the path, 
your relief 

when you're 
finally dead—and, 

just as you suspected, 
you wind up 
in heaven. 

Which of course 
is a place of endless 
harmony and order 

to which no one 
in perpetuity can 
possibly object—

where there's 
no such word 

as outrageous,
and there's 
no such concepts

as crisis 
or danger—

so you 
never again 
need to pretend 

to be
tiresome things,
such as 

or pragmatic.

Monday, August 15, 2022


If our feelings were the rocks 
which used to litter 
ancient cliffs, 

and our needs
were the bellies
of enormous pack animals, 

than the very first
decent snatch 
of poetry on earth 

was a blunt, bulky 
hand ax, chiseled gracelessly 
from flint.

More contemporary examples 
of the art, such 
as this

may come across 
like the polished 
obsidian tip

of an arrow 
aimed straight at some
more modern creature, 

but either way, 
the outcome 
is the same: 

an uncouth attack,
made in desperation
on its heart—

which, now,
as back then, is a sack 
filled with rocks.

Friday, August 12, 2022


This one's addressed 
just to you, 
lukewarm reader,

even though we 
seldom understand 
one another—

let this poem stand 
as a prayer's 
humble opposite:

no hyperbolic paean 
to what's hopeless-
ly beyond us;

just a few mealy words 
to keep you screwed 
to the earth—

its fermented treasure 
troves of dirt, 

apple groves 
and honey bee 

May its aim curve 
away from complexities 
like god, 

and instead, curl in tight 
toward a charm 
that can't be lost,

toward all of those 
guiltless and selfsame 
and clean

quarks and 
electrons, which spin 
and invent us.

Thursday, August 11, 2022


Would it be somehow more 
or less disconcerting 
to see

that there is no 
one reality 
which undergirds the scene? 

Take, for instance, the dimly lit room 
where once, we 
sat all night, arguing—

slinging gold rings, 
tacking up tents, and drawing with chalk
down the center of the thing.

How painfully small 
it seemed to me then; 

how crammed 
with stale baggage and flooded 
with shame. 

Then again, there could have been 
much more space around us
than we realized; 

that stifling room's true size
might just have been infinite—

although then, one must imagine, 
so too would've been 
the elephant.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


Slow hawk, your cool
but deliberate 

through edgeless, 
haint blue
lap pools of sky—

by the faint clangs 
of dissonant music 

flung up 
from our jagged, hectic 
neighborhoods below—

by and by, strikes me 
as the proximate 

why nobody 
misses a thing  
while they're dancing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022


Sometimes, it's like 
the endgame 
has already passed, 

yet we can't shake the feeling 
that time 
is of the essence. 

In lieu of more self-absorbed, 
we have settled for 
less attentive, 

and the one thing 
we must try to keep 
is our pride 

in the things that 
feel expensive 
after our losses. 

Long hours pass 
in which we do not care 
in praise of which heuristic we sing,

or if we just sit
with our legs crossed 
in peaceable halls, 

as cowboys 

to subdue 
our own thoughts.

Monday, August 8, 2022


Take your time, sun,
but please arrive
when you might

to baptize the dewdrops 
and stifle 
our yawning.

Nearest star of heaven, 
don't neglect us—
bend down

flutter the skirts 
of your luminescent dress,

and scatter all the light 
we could hope to know 

lend us half an ounce 
of your brilliance 
and your insight

to turn our sadness into 
merely sighing 

and a long, dark night 
into merely 
our lives.

Friday, August 5, 2022


For the space 
of one of those very 
scant flashes 

which manages, somehow, 
to inspire
as it terrifies, 

I can almost understand—
that I just might love 
missing you 

the same way
these huge, ancient 
poplars love lightning: 

and sidelong—and all
of the time.

Thursday, August 4, 2022


Actually, it's almost 
how reliably 

fissures of lightning 
and great groans 
of thunder 

will give way, 
inexorably, to the kindest 
light of summer—

how that fresh, 
honest radiance 
will pour out all over, 

touching and
untroubling every 
corner of the world,

yet always seeking 

like a foolish promise 
newly spoken, 

not yet stale 
refused, or broken;

or a sentence 
begun in such 
exuberant earnest 

but still as-yet

and so still 
so refreshingly 
devoid of any 

meaning, sense, 
or substance.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022


If Yeats 
could've seen the mad 
21st century, 

he'd say: things don't 
fall apart; they 
hang together ruthlessly.

Ritual has raged its way 
from a safe space
to a battleground, 

putrefactive words 
on a sacrificial page 

are left out, each day, 
near the entrance 
to a cave

as blood-dimmed charity 
for this fierce, 
infernal dragon:

a serpent 
bred to torment 
those poor children 

who refuse to praise 
coherence with so-called 
"passionate intensity,"

and whose name, 
legend has it, 
used to be Duty, 

but is now known
in our stories as 
Logical Consistency. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022


After a certain point, 
it might really start  
to bother you 

how one damn thing, 
insufferably, converges 
on another—

how every faultless cloud 
drifting silent 
on the horizon 

inevitably crashes into 
and then merges 
with a partner, 

or how predictably 
the pale somber mood
of the evening 

comes bleeding 
like a bruise into 
carefree afternoon. 

There are those of us 
who feel choked 
when there's so little room 

for doubt; those of us 
who were born 
to be lonely  

find the constant, inevitable 
of what's separate 

to be less 
a small infusion of closeness 
and of hope 

and more 
of a slow 
drip of poison.

Monday, August 1, 2022


Down goes the soft pedal 
on your baby-
grand piano, 

smearing those 
artless and hurried 

in the background, 
outside the practice 
room window, 

floats the revenant 
of the failure 
that haunts you the most

who bids a good
morning to your 
ritualized devotion 

and prays (on your behalf) 
that death 
and transfiguration 

may be differentiated 
by only two 
or three notes.